Apple Watch SE review: The perfect compromise between price and performance

Do not Like

  • No always-on show
  • Might be gradual to load sure apps
  • You continue to need to cost it day by day
  • Costly choice for teenagers

The Apple Watch SE is the most effective worth smartwatch you should purchase. Earlier than testing out the $280 (£270, AU$430) Apple Watch SE, I used to be satisfied I needed to spend at the least $120 extra on the Apple Watch Collection 6. I am a well being and fitness nut, so the concept of taking blood oxygen ranges and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) from my wrist utilizing the costlier watch was interesting. However after sporting each the Collection 6 and the SE for 2 weeks, I quickly realized the SE did every little thing I wanted.

The Apple Watch SE misses out on an always-on show and additional well being sensors, however each of Apple’s new smartwatches give excessive and low coronary heart fee notifications, are available in a mobile model and have security options like fall detection. 

Increase to wake display screen and processing energy is quick sufficient

If that is your first Apple Watch, otherwise you’re upgrading from a Collection three or earlier, all you want to know is that the display screen on the Apple Watch SE is fast to wake on the flip of your wrist, easy to navigate utilizing the digital crown and simple to see in broad daylight. It appears to be like precisely the identical as each different Apple Watch earlier than it, with two sizes (40mm or 44mm) and the slimmer bezels that Apple first launched within the Collection 4. However for those who’re trying to improve from a Collection Four or Collection 5, the SE will not really feel like a lot of a step up.

The one large distinction between the SE and the Collection 6 (and Collection 5) screens is that it would not have an always-on show. By the point I examined out the Apple Watch SE, I had already been sporting the Apple Watch Collection 5 for nearly a yr. And as petty because it sounds, with the Watch SE it is exhausting to return to elevating my wrist to wake the display screen. An always-on show makes glancing at your stats throughout a exercise loads simpler and is one thing you most likely will not know you want till you attempt it.

The Apple Watch SE is quick at opening apps, taking calls and making funds, however it could take a bit longer than the Collection 6 to load some data-rich apps just like the information or climate. However you are most likely not going to note until you are evaluating it straight with the costlier watch. The SE has Apple’s S5 chip, the identical one present in final yr’s Collection 5. 

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Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Collection 6 comparability


New loops, acquainted design

The Apple Watch SE is available in silver, gold and house grey in an aluminum end, no different colour choices just like the Collection 6 has, however you’ll be able to boost the look with totally different band choices. 

Apple just lately launched a brand new kind of silicone band referred to as the Solo Loop with no clasps or buckles. It stretches like a rubber band round your wrist. As a result of there are not any overlapping components, you’ll be able to’t alter the strap as soon as it is on so you will have to ensure to order the appropriate dimension. Apple despatched me a dimension Four loop with my assessment unit of the Apple Watch SE, and it felt a bit cosy. Had I measured my wrist earlier than ordering, which Apple recommends, I most likely would’ve been higher off with a dimension up. The loop will nonetheless stretch a bit over time, so for those who’re in between sizes it is most likely finest to go a dimension down. The Solo Loop prices $50 by itself, the identical value as a substitute silicone sports activities band. 

You even have extra watch face choices with WatchOS 7 together with an Animoji and Memoji choice that allows you to customise your personal avatar on the watch. 

Apple Watch SE as a cellphone various for teenagers or older adults

Family Setup enables you to configure a second Apple Look ahead to both your children or aged relations from a single iPhone

PJDM editor Scott Stein arrange the Apple Watch SE for his 11-year previous son for a couple of weeks and stated it was nice for maintaining in contact together with his child when out and about, however not fairly as interesting as a cellphone — which can truly be a very good factor for those who’re not prepared to offer your children a smartphone. Youngsters can nonetheless keep linked however do not have the temptations like social media or internet shopping that include having a bigger display screen. You possibly can program location alerts from the guardian’s iPhone, designate which contacts they will talk with and restrict use throughout sure hours with a mode referred to as Faculty Time. 

The second watch must have its personal cellphone quantity, so Household Setup solely works with the mobile model of the Apple Watch Series 4 or later. With that watch and the Collection 5 now discontinued, which means the $329 Apple Watch SE with mobile is the most affordable solution to give your children an Apple Watch with Household Setup. And that is not precisely low-cost contemplating the iPhone SE is simply $70 extra. 

That stated, you are additionally getting a well being tracker in addition to a communication machine. Our editor stated that whereas maintaining tabs on the well being knowledge of his son felt a bit bizarre, it could possibly be an enormous profit when taking good care of aged relations from afar. 

Fall detection and different well being options

Despite the fact that the Apple Watch SE would not have Apple’s FDA-cleared ECG or blood oxygen apps just like the Collection 6, it nonetheless has loads of well being options to boast about. together with fall detection and coronary heart well being notifications, which might be useful when caring for getting old mother and father.  

If the wearer has taken a tough fall and stays immobile for a sure period of time, the watch will mechanically contact emergency companies and ship a message with the GPS coordinates to emergency contacts. 

It additionally lets you recognize for those who expertise an abnormally low or excessive coronary heart fee, or if it detects an irregular coronary heart rhythm that could be indicative of atrial fibrillation (aFib), a critical coronary heart situation. 

The Apple Watch even retains monitor of noise ranges and sends you a notification when it detects ranges that could possibly be dangerous to your listening to. I’ve needed to disable that characteristic as a result of I stored getting noise alerts throughout tub time and bedtime when my children have been squealing or crying.

Should you’re over the age of 55, most of those well being options can be turned on by default, but when not, you will have to show them on manually from the Watch app in your iPhone. The identical goes for those who’re giving an Apple Watch to relations. 


The Apple Watch SE has the identical design because the flagship Collection 6 minus the always-on show. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana/PJDM

Among the best health trackers on the market 

The Apple Watch is one in every of my favourite health trackers. Its exercise ring system helps hold me trustworthy about how a lot (or how little) I am transferring, which has been particularly exhausting to gauge whereas working at dwelling. It additionally offers you month-to-month challenges to maintain you motivated, offers you a breakdown of longer-term traits inside the Actions app in your cellphone and calculates your cardio health ranges utilizing your estimated VO2 Max (most oxygen consumption).

It tracks over 40 totally different workout routines together with dance, yoga, swimming and climbing, and may detect some mechanically so you will nonetheless get credit score even for those who neglect to start out a exercise manually. The SE additionally has a brand new always-on altimeter than tracks elevation in actual time just like the Collection 6. 

And coming quickly to the Apple Watch: the brand new Health Plus app that gives guided exercises that you just management out of your wrist and may stream in your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV for $10 a month or $80 a yr to take dwelling exercises to the following stage.  

Native sleep monitoring on the Apple Watch is bare-bones

With the replace to WatchOS 7 within the fall, the Apple Watch Series 3 and later can now monitor your sleep. Not like different sleep-tracking wearables just like the Fitbit Sense, Oura ring or cellphone apps, the watch would not break down the standard of your sleep into gentle or deep sleep. As an alternative, it focuses on period and helps you determine a greater bedtime routine by prompting you to go to mattress. The Apple Watch SE can even offer you a breakdown of your coronary heart fee throughout the evening, however you will want the Collection 6 to get blood oxygen or SpO2 ranges.

The Watch focuses on establishing a bedtime routine that will help you wind down from the day 30 minutes earlier than sleep that entails turning off all notifications on all of your units. That is nice in idea, but it surely hasn’t performed a lot to assist me get to mattress earlier as my most efficient work time is often at evening after my children have gone to mattress, so I hold disabling the sleep mode. I additionally have not discovered the sleep info to be that useful but, however I can see the worth in having coronary heart fee knowledge and ultimately SpO2 knowledge (with the Collection 6) whilst you sleep to debate along with your physician for those who suspect you could have a sleep-related situation. 

Battery life is sweet for a day after which some 

As a result of the Apple Watch has at all times had quick battery life (generally lasting lower than a full day), I used to be pleasantly stunned by how a lot I used to be in a position to get out of the SE. Whereas battery life hasn’t improved dramatically in contrast with its predecessors, on most days it surpassed Apple’s 18-hour declare and I used to be in a position to log a full evening of sleep and nonetheless squeeze in a couple of additional hours of use within the morning. 

This can differ relying on use, however until you go for a really lengthy outside exercise, you are almost certainly going to make it to the top of the day with at the least the 30% cost wanted for monitoring an evening of sleep. I did a side-by-side with the Collection 6 and each drained about eight % after a 30-minute outside jog. 

One of the best Apple Watch with virtually every little thing you want 

Should you’re an iPhone person and have been debating whether or not or to not get an Apple Watch, that is the one you must get. The Apple Watch SE has sufficient well being, health and good options to make it value your whereas, however its cheaper price makes it rather more accessible than the flagship Apple Watch. Should you do want extra superior well being options, or the always-on show, you’ll be able to’t go improper with the Apple Watch Series 6, which we have additionally reviewed. What I do not know but is whether or not I can advocate shopping for a $300-plus Apple Watch SE for a child; my children are nonetheless too younger anyway, but when it will assist hold them linked with out getting them hooked on screens, then perhaps it’s going to show to be a worthy funding in spite of everything. 

Apple Watch SE specs

Form Rectangle
Watch dimension 40mm, 44mm
Supplies/ finishes Aluminum
Show dimension, decision 1.5″ (977 sq mm), 1.7″ (759 sq mm) Retina OLED 368×448 pixels
Colours Silver, house grey, gold
At all times On No
Interchangable bands Sure
GPS Constructed-in
Automated exercise detection Sure
Compass Sure
Altimeter Sure, at all times on
Water resistance Sure, as much as 50m
Calls Sure
Notifications Textual content replies
Microphone Sure
Speaker Sure
Voice assistant Siri
Music Onboard, playback and streaming (with Mobile mannequin)
Cellular funds Apple Pay
Sleep monitoring Sure
Interval monitoring Sure
Particular options Coronary heart well being notifications, listening to well being alerts
Emergency options Fall detection, Emergency SOS
Compatibility iOS/iPhone solely
Software program WatchOS 7
Processor S5 chip with 64-bit dual-core processor
Connectivity Wi-Fi and Mobile choice (+$100)
Storage 32GB
Energy Magnetic Apple charging cable (no wall charger)
Battery life All day (18 hours)
Worth $279 (40mm, Wi-Fi solely), $329 (40mm, LTE)

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Vanessa Hand Orellana